Ch 29.3 — Ezra raced up the dark secret stairway to his room. He glanced at the cloth scarecrow that rested in his bed under his blankets. In the moonlight it looked just like a sleeping boy.
Michaels appeared at the edge of the bed. “Jeeves will be in to check on you in a few minutes. I’ll give the scarecrow a few pokes so it looks as if it’s breathing.”
Ezra nodded. “I don’t know what I’d do without you, Michaels. Thank you so much.”
Michaels had hardly left the king’s side since the heart attack. “Save your father’s life. He may have his faults, but he’s still my king.”
A lump formed in Ezra’s throat. “And he’s still my father.”
Ezra changed into sturdy clothing and his leather boots. He took out the pack that hid beneath his bed and added a change of clothing and some of the tools he had invented. He looked around his familiar room and felt a pang of regret. If only he had time to pack all his things. Ezra didn’t know when he’d be back.
Michaels looked over at the door. “He’s coming.”
Ezra grabbed his pack and ducked past the tapestry just in time.
The key clicked in the lock. The outer door squeaked. Jeeves’s boots thudded on the floor. Ezra held his breath and waited. The clock’s tick-tock seemed way too loud in the room.
Jeeves spoke in a low voice. “I’ll catch you yet, boy. And when I do, you will pay.”
The clocked ticked on. Finally, Jeeves lumbered out of the room. The door closed. The key squealed in the lock.
Ezra let out a breath. Then he hurried down to the kitchen, where he packed what food he could find, along with a full water skin. Ezra would have left then, but he remembered that he had left his workbook on the nightstand. It wouldn’t do for a book like that, with all his codes, inventions, and secrets, to fall into anyone’s hands. He had to go back for it.
Ezra slipped back up the secret stairway to his room. He stopped behind the tapestry and listened. There was no sound in the room beyond. From the hallway came the sound of snoring. Ezra silently turned the door handle and opened the door.
But when he came into the room, someone was waiting for him.